Research Article
Research Article
Paraboea wenshanensis, a new species of Gesneriaceae from Yunnan, China
expand article infoDe-Ming He, Yan-Fei Feng, Fu-Zhuan Pan§, Xin Hong§, Fang Wen|
‡ Administration of Wenshan National Nature Reserve, Yunnan, China
§ Anhui University, Hefei, China
| Guangxi Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guilin, China
Open Access


Paraboea wenshanensis is a new species of Gesneriaceae from Yunnan, China and is described and illustrated here. It is morphologically similar to P. angustifolia, P. martinii and P. glutinosa, but the congeners of this new taxon can be distinguished by several salient characters. A description of P. wenshanensis, together with illustrations and photographs, a distribution map and conservation assessment are presented.


Limestone flora, karst, new taxon


Southern and south-western China has extensive areas of karst topography (Chenet al. 2008) so that seed plants in this region show extreme diversity and are endemic on alkalescent limestone substrates (Xu 1993), a typical example being Gesneriaceae (Fang et al. 1995, Wang et al. 1998, Li and Wang 2004, Wei et al. 2010, Ai et al. 2015).

Paraboea (C.B. Clarke) Ridley has recently been redefined to accommodate Phylloboea Benth and Trisepalum C.B. Clarke (Middleton et al. 2010, Puglisi et al. 2011), distributed from south to southwest China, Indo-China Peninsula to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines (Burtt 1984, Xu and Burtt 1991, Xu et al. 2008, Triboun and Middleton 2012). Many new taxa of this genus have been discovered and published in recent years (Chen et al. 2008, Kiew 2010, Wei et al. 2010, Chen et al. 2012, Wen et al. 2013, Wen and Wei 2016). Paraboea is restricted to Asia and includes about 130+ species (Weber 2004, Wen and Wei 2016).

In 2009, one of the authors (WF) encountered a Paraboea species with last year’s fruits when collecting plants specimens endemic to karst landforms in Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. Then, in the course of floristic surveys in Wenshan National Nature Reserve between 2012 and 2014, the same species was again collected by the authors. After thorough comparisons of diagnostic morphological and anatomical features of similar taxa from China, Vietnam and Thailand (Barnett 1961, Wang 1990, 1998, Xu and Burtt 1991, Xu 1994, Pham-Hoang 2000, Burtt 2001, Li and Wang 2004, Xu et al. 2008), it was concluded that it was a species new to science and thus it is described and illustrated here.

Material and methods

Measurements and morphological character assessments of the putative new species were undertaken and described using specimens worked on by the current authors and living material observed in the field and at the Gesneriad Conservation Centre of China. All available specimens of Paraboea stored in the following herbaria in China, Vietnam, the United States and the United Kingdom were examined (codes according to Thiers 2015): E, GH, HN, IBK, K, KUN, MO, PE, PH, US and VNMN. In addition, images of other type specimens were obtained from Tropicos (, JSTOR Global Plants ( and the International Plant Names Index ( All morphological characters were studied under dissecting microscopes and are described using the terminology presented by Wang et al. (1998).

Taxonomic treatment

Paraboea wenshanensis X.Hong & F.Wen, sp. nov.

Figures 1 and 2


Paraboea wenshanensis is similar to P. martinii (H. Lév. & Vaniot) B.L. Burtt and P. glutinosa (Hand.-Mazz.) K.Y. Pan in having similar corolla shape and colour, but can be distinguished by its oblong-ovate to elliptic leaf blade, crenate margin, lateral veins 4–8 on each side of midrib, petiole subsessile or up to 3 cm long, broadly obovate, glabrous bracts, 6–8 mm long, glabrous membranous calyx and capitate staminodes. It also morphologically resembles P. angustifolia Yan Liu & W.B. Xu, but can be easily distinguished by the oblong-ovate to elliptic leaf blade, broadly obovate, glabrous bracts, oblong to oblanceolate, glabrous membranous calyx, sparsely glandular puberulent filaments; capitate staminodes and twisted capsule. A morphological comparison between P. wenshanensis and congeners: P. angustifolia, P. martinii and P. glutinosa is provided in Table 1. (see also Fig. 3).

Figure 1. 

Paraboea wenshanensis X.Hong & F.Wen. A Habitat in fruiting period B Inflorescences C Dissection of a flower showing corolla, stamens and staminodes D Calyx and pistil, stamen (showing the glandular–puberulous, inflated and strongly geniculate).

Figure 2. 

Paraboea wenshanensis X.Hong & F.Wen. A Habitat B Adaxial surface view of leaf blade C Abaxial surface view of leaf blade D Cyme with flowers, showing wide campanulate E Frontal view of corolla F Calyx lobes G Opened corolla for showing stamens and pistil H Pistil with calyx lobes and stamens, showing anthers and strongly geniculate filaments I Infructescence with many capsules.

Table 1.

Diagnostic character differences amongst Paraboea wenshanensis sp. nov., P. angustifolia, P. martinii and P. glutinosa.

Characters P. wenshanensis P. angustifolia P. martinii P. glutinosa
Petiole subsessile or up to 3 cm long subsessile or up to 2 cm long 2–10 cm long 3–7 cm long
Shape of leaf blade oblong-ovate to elliptic linear-oblanceolate elliptic to ovate or oblanceolate obovate to elliptic, ovate or oblong
Margin of leaf blade crenate serrulate serrulate to crenulate serrate to subentire
Number of lateral veins on each side of midrib 4–8 4–8 7–11 10–14
Shape of Bracts broadly obovate linear-lanceolate lanceolate to ovate, narrowly ovate to obovate
Indumentum of bracts glabrous outside pannose outside pannose outside pannose
Shape of Calyx oblong to oblanceolate linear-lanceolate narrowly oblong to narrowly triangular lanceolate to narrowly triangular
Texture of calyx membranous thick papery papery papery
Indumentum of calyx glabrous pannose sparsely puberulent glandular puberulent to glabrous
Indumentum of filaments sparsely glandular puberulent glabrous bearded glabrous to glandular puberulent
Staminodes capitate, ca. 0.2 mm long linear, ca. 4 mm long, linear, ca. 3 mm long, linear, 1.2–2 mm long
Capsule twisted straight twisted twisted
Figure 3. 

A:Paraboea wenshanensis X.Hong & F.Wen. A-1 plant in habitat A-2 corolla face view B P. angustifolia Yan Liu & W.B. Xu B-1 habitat B-2 flowering habit, B-3 corolla face view C P. martinii (Lévl.) Burt C-1 flowering habit C-2 corolla face view D P. glutinosa (Handel-Mazzetti) K. Y. Pan D-1 plant in habitat D-2 inflorescense, showing corolla face view.


CHINA. Yunnan Province: Shaka County, Gumu Town, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, 23°9'22.5"N, 104°12'16.59"E, a.s.l. 1,500 m, 4 Jul 2014, flowering, D.M. He & Y.F. Feng WSLJS646 (holotype: KUN; isotype: AHU, IBK).


Terrestrial lithophilic, perennial rosulate herbs. Stems subterete, 5–10 cm long, 5–9 mm in diameter. Leaves 6–20, congested at the apex of the stem, subsessile or up to 3 cm long, leaf blade oblong-ovate to elliptic, (5–)8–18 × 1–3 cm, coriaceous, bases strongly oblique and asymmetrically attenuate, margins crenate sometimes with a woolly strip, apices acute to obtuse, upper leaf surfaces with arachnoid covering when young, becoming glabrescent with age, lower leaf densely appressed greyish arachnoid hairs; lateral veins 4–8 on each side of midrib, convex and densely appressed brown to greyish woolly hairs along the abaxial veins. Cymes dichotomous, axillary or subterminal, dichasia 1–3(–5), (2–)4–16-flowered; peduncles 3–10 cm long, ca. 5 mm in diameter, sparsely greyish matted woolly hairs, green; bracts 2, opposite, broadly obovate, 7–9 × ca. 5 mm, margins entire, apices blunted to obtuse, glabrous, whitish to purple; pedicels 0.8–1 cm long, ca. 2 mm in diameter, sparsely greyish matted woolly, greenish. Calyx membranous, 5-parted to the base, lobes oblong to oblanceolate, 6–8 × ca. 2.6 mm, glabrous, margins entire, apex obtuse or rounded, white to purplish. Corolla zygomorphic, 1–1.5 cm long, purple outside, bluish or purplish inside, glabrous; tube obliquely wide campanulate, 0.6–1.2 cm long, ca. 1cm in diameter at the mouth; the limb two-lipped; adaxial lip 2-lobed to near base, lobes semi-orbicular, apex rounded, 2–4 × ca. 3 mm, abaxial lip 3-lobed to base, central lobe ovate, lateral lobes obliquely ovate, the apex of 3 lower lobes rounded, 5–6 × ca. 3 mm. Stamens 2, included, adnate to abaxial side of corolla tube near base; filaments 4–5 mm long, inflated and strongly geniculate on the upper part, wide along its length and narrowly constricted at base, white, sparsely purple glandular–puberulous near the base; anthers dorsifixed, ca. 3.5 mm long; transversely spindle-shaped, coherent at the lateral sides, dehiscing longitudinally, white, glabrous; staminodes 2, capitate, ca. 0.2 mm long, adnate to ca. 1.5 cm above the corolla tube base. Pistil glabrous; ovary narrowly ovoid to conical, ca. 1 cm long, ca. 1.1 mm in diameter, placentas 4, axile, undivided; style ca. 6 mm long, stigma capitate, with numerous papillae. Capsule linear, spirally twisted, ca. 3 cm long, 0.4–0.6 cm in diameter, glabrous, slightly curved, dehiscing loculicidally to base.


The specific epithet is derived from the type locality, Wenshan National Nature Reserve, Yunnan Province, China.

Vernacular name

Wén Shān Zhǖ Máo Jǜ Tái (Chinese pronunciation); 文山蛛毛苣苔 (Chinese name).

Distribution and habitat

To date, Paraboea wenshanensis is locally abundant and endemic to south-western China, from type locality: Wenshan Nature Reserve, Wenshan Zhuang and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province. This species grows on moist shady cliffs of limestone hills, at an elevation of 1,500 m a.s.l. The average temperature is 14.5 °C, the average annual precipitation has been calculated as ca. 1,022 mm. The forest is a subtropical monsoon climate evergreen broad-leaved forest, with main community types of Ilex polyneura (Hand.-Mazz.) S.Y. Hu, Triadica rotundifolia (Hemsl.) Esser and Debregeasia orientalis C.J. Chen.

Conservation status

Current information for this new species is only known from very few collections and details on the size of the population are known in Wenshan Nature Reserve, where the plants’ protected status is guaranteed. Based on five careful field investigations in the past years, this species appears to be locally abundant. Considering that not enough is known about the population, it is proposed that Paraboea wenshanensis should currently be classed as data deficient (DD) (IUCN 2016).


The geographical distributions of P. wenshanensis and its similar species are identified in Map 1.

Map 1. 

The geographical distribution of P. wenshanensis sp. nov., P. angustifolia, P. martinii and P. glutinosa.


The authors are grateful to Prof. Yi-Bo Luo and Dr. Wei-Bin Xu for the photographs of Paraboea martinii and P. angustifolia and Miss Le-Ping He and Miss Wen Ma for the beautiful hand-drawing. This study was financially supported by the Anhui University Doctor Startup Fund, Key University Science Research Project of Anhui Province (No. KJ2017A022), Fund of Guangxi Key Laboratory of Plant Conservation and Restoration Ecology in Karst Terrain (16-B-01-01), Plant germplasm resources projects of the germplasm bank of Wild species of Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (WGB-1411), the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the Guangxi Natural Science Foundation (2015GXNSFBB139004) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences under the STS initiative “Development of Chinese Union of Botanical Gardens (KFJ-1W-NO1)”.


  • Ai B, Gao Y, Zhang X, Tao J, Kang M, Huang H (2015) Comparative transcriptome resources of eleven primulina species, a group of ‘stone plants’ from a biodiversity hot spot. Molecular Ecology Resources 15(3): 619–632.
  • Burtt BL (1984) Studies in the Gesneriaceae of the Old World, XLVII: Revised generic concepts for Boea and its allies. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 41: 401–452
  • Burtt BL (2001) Flora of Thailand: annotated checklist of Gesneriaceae. Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) 29: 81–109.
  • Chen WH, Möller M, Shui YM, Zhang MD (2008) A new species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from a karst cave in Guangxi, China and observations on variations in flower and inflorescence architecture. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 681–688.
  • Chen WH, Möller M, Zhang MD, Shui YM (2012) Paraboea hekouensis and P. manhaoensis, two new species of Gesneriaceae from China. Annales Botanici Fennici 49(3): 179–187.
  • Fang D, Qin DH, Rao WY, Zeng L (1995) New plants of Gesneriaceae from Guangxi and Guizhou of China (Cont. II). Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 33: 602–607.
  • Li ZY, Wang YZ (2004) Plants of Gesneriaceae in China. Science and Technology Publishing House: Zhengzhou, Henan, 305–332.
  • Middleton DJ, Puglisi C, Triboun P, Möller M (2010) Proposal to conserve Paraboea against Phylloboea and Trisepalum (Gesneriaceae). Taxon 59: 1603.
  • Pham–Hoang H (2000) An illustrated flora of Vietnam 3. Youth Publishing House, Ho Chi City, 12–29.
  • Puglisi C, Middleton DJ, Triboun P, Möller M (2011) New insights into the relationships between Paraboea, Trisepalum and Phylloboea (Gesneriaceae) and their taxonomic consequences. Taxon 60: 1693–1702.
  • Thiers B (2015) [continuously updated] Index herbariorum: a global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden. [accessed 3 Feb 2015]
  • Triboun P, Middleton DJ (2012) Twenty new species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from Thailand. Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 64(2): 333–370.
  • Triboun P (2013) Paraboea middletonii (Gesneriaceae), a new species from Thailand. Thai Forest Bulletin (Botany) 41: 45–47.
  • Wang WT (1990) Gesneriaceae. In: Wang WT (Ed.) Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae 69.Science Press, Beijing, 460–472.
  • Wang WT, Pan KY, Li ZY, Weitzman AL, Skog LE (1998) Gesneriaceae. In: Wu ZH, Raven PH (Eds) Flora of China, Vol.18. Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, 362–367.
  • Weber A (2004) Gesneriaceae. In: Kubitzki K, Kadereit JW (Eds) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants volume 7: Dicotyledons, Lamiales.Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, 63–158.
  • Wei YG, Wen F, Möller M, Monro A, Zhang Q, Gao Q, Mou HF, Zhong SH, Cui C (2010) Gesneriaceae of South China. Guangxi Science and Technology Publishing House, Nanning, Guangxi, 608–646.
  • Wen F, Wei YG (2016) Paraboea yunfuensis: a new calcicolous species of Gesneriaceae from Yunfu, Guangdong Province, China. Telopea 19: 125–129.
  • Wen F, Hong X, Chen LY, Zhou SB, Wei YG (2013) A new species of Paraboea (Gesneriaceae) from a karst limestone hill in Southwestern Guangdong, China. Phytotaxa 131(1): 1–8.
  • Xu WB, Huang YS, Wei GF, Tan WN, Liu Y (2012) Paraboea angustifolia (Gesneriaceae): a new species from limestone areas in northern Guangxi, China. Phytotaxa 62(1): 39–43.
  • Xu ZR (1993) A study of the limestone forest flora of southern and south-western China: floristics, ecology, conservation and taxonomy. Guihaia Additamentum 4: 5–54.
  • Xu ZR (1994) A new species of Paraboea Ridley from Thailand. Acta Phytotaxonomica Sinica 32: 359–361.
login to comment